On July 25, 2017, Governor Roy Cooper signed “Outdoor Heritage Enhanced” House Bill 559 into law, further expanding Sunday hunting in North Carolina. Mostly because of concerns about disturbing Sunday worship services and the traditional day of rest, hunting on Sunday had historically been prevented or limited in the state.
The Outdoor Heritage Act of 2015 removed the absolute prohibition on hunting with firearms on Sunday in North Carolina. This act, however, only applied to hunting on private land, maintained a prohibition on hunting migratory birds on Sunday, exempted counties with populations over 700,000 from being included, and did not allow hunting on Sunday within 500 yards of a residence not owned by the landowner.
HB 599 was introduced earlier this year by hunting-friendly legislators, and offers the following Sunday hunting improvements:
- Allows the North Carolina Wildlife Resources Commission (WRC) to study the impact of hunting migratory birds on Sunday;
- Expands Sunday hunting to public lands;
- Removes the exemption on counties with a population over 700,000 from hunting on Sundays;
- Removes the prohibition on hunting within 500 yards of a residence on Sundays;
- Changes the standards for counties to opt-out of allowing hunting on Sundays;
- HB 559 requires any county opt-out to be approved by a public referendum. By statute, the referendum can only take place in an even-numbered year, which pushes any possible county opt-out to 2018.
North Carolina: Sunday Hunting Expansion Signed By Governor, NRA-ILA (July 26, 2017), https://www.nraila.org/articles/20170726/north-carolina-sunday-hunting-expansion-signed-by-governor
Colin Campbell, Sunday hunting expansion clears divided NC Senate committee—but did it get enough votes?, The News & Observer (June 13, 2017), http://www.newsobserver.com/news/politics-government/state-politics/article155991364.html